GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
table 1.1 Differences between the Great Barrier reef region, World heritage area and Marine park
Great Barrier reef region Great Barrier reef World heritage area Great Barrier reef Marine park
Established 1975 346,000 km2 Includes: • approximately 70 Commonwealth islands • all waters seaward of low water mark (excluding Queensland internal waters) Does NOT include: • internal waters of Queensland
Inscribed 1981 348,000 km2 Includes: • all islands within outer boundary (about 1050)
Declared in sections between 1979 and 2001; amalgamated into one section in 2003 344,400 km2 Includes: • approximately 70 Commonwealth islands • all waters seaward of low water mark (excluding Queensland internal waters) Does NOT include: • internal waters of Queensland • 13 coastal exclusion areas
• all waters seaward of low water mark (including internal waters of Queensland and port waters) • all 12 trading ports
• Queensland islands (about 980)
• Queensland islands (about 980)
A place of outstanding universal value
The Great Barrier Reef is a world heritage area, comprising the Great Barrier Reef Region plus Queensland internal waters and islands within its boundaries. The property is recognised as having outstanding universal value: ‘natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity’.2 Listing of the Great Barrier Reef is based on it having superlative natural phenomena and areas of exceptional natural beauty; it being an outstanding example of major stages in the Earth’s evolutionary history; it representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes and Traditional Owners’ interaction with the natural environment; and it containing the most important and significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity. Almost all aspects of the Region’s environment contribute to its outstanding universal value (Appendix 3) and they are comprehensively considered throughout this report. A compiled assessment of the Region’s world heritage values is provided in Chapter 4. As well as fulfilling the requirements of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations, the assessments relating to world heritage values address a recommendation of the 2012 World Heritage Centre/IUCN Monitoring Mission.3
The Great Barrier Reef is valued worldwide © Matt Curnock
‘Include, in the future editions of the Outlook Report for the Great Barrier Reef, and commencing with the version to be published in 2014, a specific assessment on the condition, trends, threats and prospects for the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The assessment should be benchmarked at the date of inscription of the property in 1981, and its results should be reported to the World Heritage Committee for consideration at its 39th session in 2015.’
This Outlook Report assesses the current condition of the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystem and heritage values and their links with other environmental, social and economic values. It also examines pressures and current responses, and finally considers the likely outlook for the Region’s values. It is structured around the nine assessments required by the Act and Regulations, with each assessment forming a chapter of the report (Figure 1.2). The focus of the four chapters on the values of the Great Barrier Reef is their current state and trends. Likely future trends in those values and the factors influencing them are discussed in later chapters, such as those on the factors influencing the values, risks and outlook. The findings of the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 20091 are summarised throughout the report. Excerpts of relevant summaries from the previous report are included at the beginning of each chapter and in association with assessment summaries at the end of the chapter.
Both ecosystem and heritage values of the Region are assessed.